Rango is the first fully animated feature film from Industrial Light & Magic in 35 years. Here I'm bringing you one of the most popular animation movies of recent times . It’s directed by Gore Verbinski, the man behind the first three Pirates of the Caribbean films and also stars Johnny Depp as the title character.
Rango is the story of a lizard who lives a lonely life in an aquarium until one day while traveling, his aquarium is thrown out of the car and crashes in the dry desert. Lost and confused, he is told to head to the town Dirt and on his way is met by Bean (voiced by Isla Fisher). He makes his way to town (with little help from Bean) and isn’t exactly welcomed. But once the locals confuse him for someone else who killed 7 brothers with one bullet, the town folk believe he will save the town and find the water they desperately need. Rango is named sheriff by the mayor and he promises to fix all the town’s problems.
The last remaining water is stolen and Rango puts together a crew to find the thieves and retrieve the water. What they find isn’t the water, but more questions about how the town is really controlled and by who. An assassin snake is sent to kill Rango before he finds out the truth, but does Rango have the courage in him to finally be the hero he claims and wants to be?
As expected, the animation for Rango is flawless. If Industrial Light & Magic wants to continue making feature length animated films, within five years they will surpass Dreamworks as Pixar’s main competition. The picture just flows so well and was produced differently than other animated films. The actors didn’t just stand in a box and speak their lines, but were actually given costumes and sets in the recording studio to develop the characters. The audio was then pulled directly and placed in the film. The combination of ILM and director Verbinski gives us an entire new look and sound to animated features that will surely continue.
This combination also provides for a very similar style and similar shots from both the Pirates of the Caribbean franchise and Star Wars films. The scene where Rango and his crew are trying to steal the water back from the thieves is classic Verbinski with shots straight from Lucas. You see Rango tied to a rope flying through the air like Captain Jack Sparrow on the Black Pearl and the chase is quite similar to the pod race from Phantom Menace mixed with the attack on the Death Star in A New Hope. Even one of the frog characters looks a bit like Jabba the Hutt.
Johnny Depp’s name will put people in the seats, but the rest of the cast is equally impressive. The previously mentioned Isla Fisher and Abigail Breslin are joined by Ned Beatty, Bill Nighy, Stephen Root and Harry Dean Stanton. Also, Justified’s Timothy Olyphant makes a fantastic cameo as a “Clint Eastwood-esque” Spirit of the West.
While the film works well for the most part, it is a bit long and slow in a part or two so make sure your ADD/ADHD kids aren’t too sugared up on soda and Junior Mints (mmm Junior Mints). Overall though, the pacing never becomes too much of an issue.
Rango is a good animated film that families should enjoy, especially dads and their sons who like cowboy stuff. It’s funny, great to look at, tells a good story and is very entertaining. Look out Pixar!